Dividend policy awaits cabinet, says treasury

Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development says Cabinet is yet to approve the much-awaited Dividend and Surplus Policy that will ensure that State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are independent from Treasury and start remitting dividends. The expected approval of the policy is part of the agreement between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Malawi…

Britain speaks on future aid to Malawi

British High Commissioner Holly Tett says United Kingdom (UK) is yet to decide on the future of Department for International Development (DfID), allaying fears of potential loss of aid to Malawi and other developing countries. The diplomat was responding to a questionnaire from The Nation sent last week on the future of British aid to…

World Bank decries telecoms tax rates

The World Bank has decried punitive tax rates governing the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector, a situation it says is impacting mobile penetration, services and profits by telecommunications firms. The Bretton Woods institution has also singled out lack of investment and competitive pressure on prices and quality services in the mobile telecommunications industry,…

Mist over UK  Aid to Malawi

There is uncertainty over the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Development (DfID) continued aid to Malawi following reports of a possible merger of DfID and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The expected merger of the two institutions has been ignited by the aid-skeptic Conservative Party’s win of 365 of the UK Parliament’s 650 seats…

Where did maize surplus go?

The year 2019 was never short of controversy as far as Malawi’s maize availability is concerned. While the country celebrated a bumper maize harvest, the maize paradoxically‘disappeared’ into the thin air as the market was left with a short supply. The situation remained dire, especially towards the end of the year as prices sky-rocketed to…

Tama rebrands, to diversify portfolio

Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama), the largest grouping of tobacco growers, has rebranded into Tama Farmers Trust, taking on board other crop value chains in the process The rebranding exercise follows the association’s 2019 Annual Congress which ratified that the institution be rebranded in the wake of the slowdown in the global tobacco consumption, among…

RBM stops budget  Deficit financing

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has intensified unwinding of its holdings of government securities in line with the RBM Act of 2018. RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira said in an e-mail response on Tuesday that the central bank will no longer be converting ways and means cash advances to government into government securities, an arrangement…

Banks complying with global standards—IMF

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the country’s nine commercial banks for complying with the International Financial Reporting Standards (Ifrs9) by the International Accounting Standards Board. Besides, the IMF Country Report indicates that the banks are adequately capitalised in line with Basel II requirements. It also says the banks are liquid, sound and profitable and…

World Bank raises alarm on rising debt

Malawi’s total value of domestic debt stock has now exceeded that of external debt, putting the country at risk of public debt distress, the World Bank has warned. The World Bank analysis contained in the 10th edition of Malawi Economic Monitor (MEM) shows that five years ago, external debt was at 26.5 percent of gross…

Poor nutrition costs Malawi K40bn annually

The World Bank says Malawi is losing an estimated $597 million (about K440 billion) annually due to poor childhood nutrition. This economic loss, according to the Bretton Woods institution, is an equivalent of three percent of the country’s national output as measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and is mainly attributed to increased healthcare…

Lending rates at  40-year low—RBM

Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Dalitso Kabambe has touted commercial bank’s base lending rates, as measured by reference rate at 12.3 percent for November 2019, saying they are at their lowest since the 1980s. He said Malawi’s credit composition has now changed with wholesale and retail sector enjoying a lion’s share at 24.5 percent…

Malawi ratifies protocol on forced labour

Malawi has ratified the 2014 International Labour Organisation (ILO) protocol on forced labour, effectively committing to take necessary measures to prevent forced labour, protect victims and ensure access to justice by the victims. Minister of Labour, Skills and Innovation Martha Chanjo ratified the protocol on behalf of the Malawi Government last week in Geneva, Switzerland…

Minister banks on AfDB for budget support

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha says he is banking on a high-level African Development Bank (AfDB) dialogue mission for possible resumption of direct budget support. During the discussions, the delegation, which is expected in Malawi in mid-December, is also expected to assess seven projects Capital Hill wants the Abidjan-based bank to…

Exports jump 6% in 20 years—report

Malawi’s exports grew at an average six percent between 1998 and 2018, against a growth rate of 10 percent in imports, figures show. The disparity in the value of exports and imports exposes Malawi’s inability to narrow the gap between imports and exports in the past two decades despite relentless efforts by authorities to grow…

Food relief response faces K31bn deficit

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) has raised an alarm on Malawi’s humanitarian food assistance programme, revealing that only 18 percent or less than a quarter of the required K38 billion has been secured. Fewsnet has also observed that low availability and high prices of maize continue to restrict household food access, leading to…

Tobacco Commission (TC) says there is now substantial evidence that Malawi should continue with the implementation of the Integrated Production System (IPS) of growing tobacco also known as contract farming. This recommendation follows a review by independent consultants engaged by the tobacco industry regulator to assess IPS following its adoption seven years ago. The tobacco…

Govt set to review tobacco levies

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa says Capital Hill is currently reviewing all statutory levies governing the tobacco sector. Speaking at a two-day 2019 Tobacco Industry Seminar in Lilongwe last week, the minister said the process was necessitated by the growing general outcry by most tobacco farmers over dwindling levels of profitability…

IMF nods to post  Idai reconstruction

Malawi on Friday passed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) test as the fund’s Executive Board of Directors, sitting in Washington D.C, approved resources amounting to $40 million (about K29 billion) to support Malawi’s reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone Idai. The approval of the funds follows Friday’s meeting by the IMF Board,…

Committee queries Mvac on hunger

Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture (PCA) on Wednesday accused Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) officials of producing reports on the country’s maize situation that do not match with the reality on the ground. Citing the 2019 maize situation as presented by Mvac before the committee, the legislators told the three Mvac officials that every year, the…